Mars 2010

 

Mars passed opposition in late January and was only 13.2 arc seconds across – less than 1/3 the apparent width of Jupiter – on February 15th (local time) when Ralph Megna captured this high resolution image through a red filter from his observatory at GMARS. Details within well-known albedo features such as Syritis Major (left) and Sinus Meridiani (upper center) are clearly seen. The pixel resolution is .054 arc seconds; the smallest recognizable markings are about .25 arc seconds. That calibrates to roughly 80 miles across. Mars was 65 million miles away when this picture was taken.

The frames for this image were captured on an iMac running Starlink software, and then were processed using Keith's Image Stacker 5.0 and Photoshop CS3.

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The night before I shot red, plus some additional color frames (green and blue) and attempted an RGB version. The seeing that night was not as good as it was for the image above. The result is not well color balanced and lacks the detail of the pure red data, but I thought I'd put it up here anyway.